More Doors Opening For Electric

Phil Smage On The Zero MX

Phil Smage On The Zero MX

The first doors to open for electric drive powersports were a long time coming. Activists in touch with the environment have been pushing for ways to reduce carbon emissions for decades. In the late 90’s, frustrations mounted as the EV1 came and went. Engineers and tinkerers have been building and racing electrics for years.

In 2008 and 2009 many doors were blown open for electrics. High gas prices drove people to look for cheaper fuel options than gas. Modern, stable, high rate of discharge lithium ion batteries became less expensive. Azhar Hussain rocked decades old motorcycle race organizations with a wildly successful TTXGP at the Isle Of Man TT. Disruptive entrepreneurs with a vision to mass produce electric motorcycles and sell them in cost effective, high visibility, customer friendly ways. Even KTM announced intensions to go electric. It all came together in 2009.

2010 has started with equal parts drama and progress as the electric motorcycle racing land grab has intensified. The big guys decided they want a piece of the electric scene and slammed the door on TTXGP. Some people in this land grab get it, others do not. For the people who get it right the rewards will be great as more doors open over the next few years and through this decade.

eBike Market Projections Through 2016

As the buzz surrounding electric motorcycles intensifies, facts are being published about the growth for electric motorcycles. By 2016, Pike Research estimates 200 million electric motorcycles will be sold worldwide. Most of this growth will be in China, and American electric motorcycle manufacturers are positioning themselves to take advantage of this. Electric motorcycles are also quickly shedding their clean, boring and slow image. Some of this year’s electric motorcycle teams are anticipating lap times and performance similar to a 600cc inline 4 racebike. The cost of batteries and government incentives are bringing down the price of electrics. All of these developments will continue and bring a good amount of investment capital to companies who are well positioned to take advantage of them.

Slow Down For Gas Bike Development And New ICE Models

2010 had a good number of new motorcycle launches considering the poor economy. 2011 is expected to bring a new product drought where very few new models will be introduced. This will no doubt have a negative impact on sales over the next few years and media outlets will be looking for something interesting to write about. Electric motorcycle, ATV and scooter manufacturers may be the perfect subject for news thirsty powersports blogs and magazines. Electric drive machines will bring excitement to a somewhat stale motorcycle product scene over the next few years.

The eGrandPrix has worked hard to include all race organizations in their vision of the future. If you have never been to a motorcycle race this year is the time to “be a part of it”. Regardless of whether electric motorcycles fail to gain acceptance 2010 will be a historic year for motorcycle racing in general. I hope to see you at Infineon in May. No doubt we will see even more doors begin to open for electric.

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